Friday, 21 February 2014

About my paper technique

What is cartapesta?

Well, basically, it's italian for papier-mâché. But the technique I use for the masks was adapted, to give a better finish. When people ask how I make the masks it's always a bit complicated to explain that cartapesta is not exactly the most commonly known form of papier-mâché, which uses  pulp (paper dissolved in water to make a paste). It is actually made with strips, but still not exactly as you'll see on papier-mâché tutorials.

Most of the pulp and strip techniques you'll find online are quite messy. You have to use a lot of water, and a lot of glue, and lose a bowl forever by filling it with adhesive and macerated or striped paper. And have glue all over your hands through the whole process. That's a no no for me.

The technique I use I learned from the amazing mask maker Agostino Dessì. You can see pictures of the courses he gives on his facebook page.

So how is it done?

  • To start we need a negative of the form (a negative means it is a concave, you'll be seeing the inside of the form). It will look like this:

  • The strips are molded one by one inside the plaster. I use a squirt bottle to moisten them as much as I need before putting them down, so no big bowls full of water. After a few were adjusted to the plaster, I put on some glue with a paintbrush. It will start looking like this:

I was using used coffee filters for this one

  • After I completed the form I put on a coat of glue on all of it and let it dry

  • And voilá. When it's really hot I can take it out in about 5 to 6 hours, but usually I'll leave it overnight. After that it will receive a coat of glue on the outside, which was facing the plaster, and after a good dry my fingers will die trimming the edges and opening the eyes (the paper becomes so hard, you have no idea)

That's about it! Takes a long time of practice and experimentation, but it's a very nice technique that makes smooth, strong, and durable pieces.

Hope you enjoyed the post, and see you next time ;)

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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Ground control to Major Tom

Alright, I'm kindda lost on writing blog posts again (got way too used to short facebook posts, it seems).
I decide to revive this blog, which I ended up abandoning for various reasons I don't even know when, so I could keep going with documenting the process, and have some place t put all that in.

This is something I actually posted on my facebook page in december and january, and shows the stages of the mask making after it comes out of the plaster mold.

So, the base preparation process: the first image is the progression of the base before painting, from when it leaves the mold to the final coating of acrylic plaster.

Building the base takes 3 to 4 hours (some less, some more. It depends on the details and difficulty of the form). When it's dry it is taken out and smoothed with a brush to get rid of any imperfections, and then it gets two coats of acrylic paste. After drying it gets thoroughly sanded, and finished with two coats of acrylic plaster. 

After this process, it is ready to be painted.

The painting process. It varies a lot. In the case of this specific mask I used a coat of white and then added the colour details, all in acrylics (you don't really want to paint mask with oils....well, at least I don't. It becomes a nightmare to hold them, and it will take forever to dry, since they have glue and will not absorb the oils)

After that there's the finishing touch. In this case I used a cracked finish on the white, and enhanced the cracks with black wax. After that it only needs a coat of varnish, and it's done.

On another topic, I'm going through a Bowie fase right now, saw an amazing exhibit on him and his career in São Paulo. Fell in love with this version of The Man Who Sold The World, too bad I couldn't find the actual video.

Thank you for reading, and see you in the next post!


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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Não chore não, viu

On the name of all creation, it's been two months. I apologise. Things got piled up these last couple of months, one big project that was a handful, will post about it soon, another not so big, but very time consuming nevertheless, will post about it today, and some other pieces being balanced around.

The big one was sent for the Salão Paranaense, it's a contemporary art salon. The results come out in august, wish me luck!

The not so big one was for my contribution to an arts event called Cabaré Artístico, held by Pedras theatre school, where I take my circus classes. It was the Centenary of Luiz Gonzaga, and I made masks according to the theme, the brazilian northeastern culture.

This is Asa Branca, by Luiz Gonzaga (I sang this in a theatre presentation we did in school when I was...around 12 or 13)

And the masks were made with chita, e very colourful cotton fabric very much used in the northeast.

And these are some of the masks that came from it

I don't have proper shots of all of them, but I'll soon post some at my facebook page Keep an eye on it for more.

And as masks are made to be worn, not just sit there, some of my lovely, beautiful friends put them to their purpose by the end of the event

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Only the Wind

So we go back to London (lovely, lovely London. Yes, even if everyone was complaining about how cold it was. It wasn't that cold)

See? Not that cold

And you know, I was sorting out the pics and there's no way I can do this in only one post, so there'll be two. And also, I don't have half of the pics with me.

My mom was constantly very impressed with the supermarkets...and I was was constantly overflowing happiness for no apparent reason (I wonder why...)

I don't have as many food places to write about in London as in Paris, since we took a flat instead of a hotel, so we often dinned at home.

We stayed with Hyde Park Suites, who offers flats at the lovely Inverness Terrace, in Bayswater, one block away form the Kensington Gardens.

And this is Inverness Terrace...

...and me, trying to warn my father that he's going to be run over by a car.

It is very easy to go wherever you want from there, the tube station is one block away, at Queensway, and you can actually take the traditional double-decker (the regular ones, not for tourism) at Bayswater Road straight to Oxford street.
I don't really recall where this was taken, it's just to illustrate what is 
a double-decker, just in case anyone's not familiar with it

 The area is well served with supermarkets, it has a Sainsbury's and a Tesco right next to the Bayswater tube station, and a Marks&Spencer in the Whiteleys shopping center.
It also has the Bayswater Arms pub, where we had the famous Fish 'n Chips and a jar of Pimm's. I miss Pimm's...

Other than that we ate a lot at Pret a Manger, they have very well made fresh food, and a nice variety of sandwiches and soups. 

And this is their napkin 

 We also went o KFC at Earl's Court, where my father took this very flattering pic of me and my cousin

 And had coffee at Costa Coffee. Nice coffee in big cups with delicious muffins. There's one on the second floor of the Waterstones bookstore at Trafalgar Square.

And we went to the Sherlock Holmes Museum. The Sherlock Holmes Museum. And it's at 221b Baker Street. Embrace the awesomeness.

And I'm looking so odd in this pics but I don't even care

Next time I'm in London I'll go back and take more pics (every time I'm London I'll go back and take more pics...)

Ok, that's enough for today, so it doesn't get tiresome. See you in the next post

xx Andy

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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

You closed your eyes and said your goodbyes

Ok, let's start the writing! There is a lot to write about this 2 week trip, and I hope you will forgive if I have to go back and forth a bit as I tend to miss details and only remember them hours later.

My mother and I arrived in London the 23rd april. The weather was still a bit chilly, which I found very pleasant, as (forgive me heat lovers) I was growing tired of Maringá's endless summer. We stayed the first couple of days at the Earl's Court Youth Hostel, which I love (I very much enjoy having an available kitchen, for you can leave sooner and arrive later, with no risk of missing the meal hours and having to go out once more or going to bed with nothing but crackers on your stomach).

The Earl's Court area is lovely, filled with adorable buildings with brick and white exteriors, about 1 mile from Kensington Gardens.

There is a cute church near the hostel, and the very kind sir who was locking it up when we passed by opened it again just so we could see the insides.
During the next two days I dropped Maria Maria off (hope Mika gets her soon), we went to Tate Modern to see the Damien Hirst exhibition, saw St Paul's Cathedral, the Kensington Gardens, and I took my mother to see where the Natural History and the Science museums were. Oh, and Maks&Spencer. The food Marks&Spencer. The perfection of the tomatoes is just unbelievable.

On the 25th we took the train to Paris, where we met my father and grandmother. I didn't even see the trip happening, I slept and when I woke up we were already in France.

We did so much in Paris there's probably a very small chance I'll be able to place everything on it's right date and time! (but that doesn't really matter, does it?)

My grandmother and I stayed at Hotel Concorde Montparnasse. Very nice hotel, the staff was very kind and helpful, and the continental breakfast just perfect for us, with both coffee and fruit.

We ate some awesome food, and I kicked my vegetarian ways aside for these two weeks, because....well because I decided so and that's the end of it.

We went to the most commonly known sites, the Louvre, Versailles, Champs Élysées, Notre Dame, L'Arc de Triomphe, and everything else you all heard about, so I'll write about the other stuff you most likely didn't hear about.

Like the little place we ate at near Notre Dame. It's in the street right on the north side of the church, and silly me didn't write the name down....but it is a small créperie that has the crêpe cart on the outside, and a yellow glass work on the ceiling on the inside, and Tiffany like chandeliers. The onion soup is very, very good, and so are the crêpes.

The restaurant Jour is also really nice, it serves salads in the Subway style (you pic a base, and add toppings and sauce).

Dupont Café at Avenue de France, where my parent's hotel was, has great tartines (see the last two pics in this page), and two other addresses.

Then there is Fauchon, near the Pinacothèque. I'll just leave you with the pics.

Au Grain de Folie is a tinie tynie vegetarian restaurant in Montmartre. The food there is amazing, so well seasoned. It looked and smelled so good we forgot to take a picture (that happened a lot...), but here there's a pic of a dish and a dessert (see the text below the pic to know which ones).

Créperie St Malo at 53 rue du Montparnasse was a very pleasant find as well, and both the omelets and crepes were amazing, and Cédric, who waited on us, was very kind and patient with my yet quite flawed french (and I hope I'm not misspelling his name).
Of course we forgot to take pics of the omelets, but here are the honey almond crepe and the cider, which was also very nice. The looks of it fooled me, as I could swear it had a honey-like consistency (it doesn't).

Ok, I guess that closes the Food in Paris section. And this post, as I don't want this to get way too long. There's still Brugge, and London, and not only the food, but all the other nice things we found. See you in the next post.

xx Andy

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Down on Baker Street

Yeeeeees, we're going to London!! Oh, lovely London, how I've missed thee.
(We are going to Paris as well, but you know...London is London)

As usual I'm getting a bit nervous, so I though I'd write something, anything to get a bit distracted.
I've always liked London quite a lot, even though I haven't spent more than 5 days there counting both times I went (and during which I didn't visit the bookstores...oh, the bookstores...I'm obviously also going to visit Shakespeare & Co in Paris, but I'll talk about that later).
Of course everything got worse now, as I was reawakened to Sherlock Holmes through the amazing BBC's series Sherlock. And Mr. Cumberbatch's readings. Seriously, have you listened to any of his readings? What a marvelous voice (I'll shut up about that one day, I'm sure.....). Anyway, I'll add Ode to a Nightingale at the end, be sure to listen, even if just a bit :)

Oh, and of course, if any of you have advice on must-see spots in London (besides the usual tourism plan of course) I'd be much pleased to hear them. I'll sure be passing by 221b Baker Street, and some bookstores (God, I hope I don't bore my parents to death), but every city has those lovely peculiarities only known by a handful of people, and I'd be so very glad to get to know some.

Hopefully I'll have lots of pics, since I won't have to keep trying to fit me in the frame with only as much as an arm distance (lonely traveler is sad). I also lost most of the pics I took in 2008 when my hard drive went bananas...oh well at least I could keep one of my favourites.

(if you can find out where this is I'll bring you a cookie :D)

Well, for now I must go dears, I'll post as much as can during the actual trip!

And here is Ode to a Nightingale. There's a link to the transcription under the video. Enjoy :)

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Saturday, 31 March 2012

Heaven, I'm in heaven

Today was la Fête de la Francophonie at Alliance Française Maringá, in which I participated with a piece...inspired by Marcel Marceau.

An here it is, La Voix

And brace yourselves, there's a lot of writing coming ...ok, not that much, but it's in french and then in english, 'cause I wrote the original in french, so there you go:

J'ai été invitée a participer de la exposition de la Fête de la Francophonie aujourd'hui, e pendant quelques semaines j'ai eu des problémes pour trouver une forme de représenter, à travérs des masques, ce très complexe théme. C'est quand le célèbre Marcel Marceau a été si gentil de me donner un coup d'inspiration avec son sketch "The Mask Maker", lequel vous pouvez voir dans la salle a cotê.
Alors je me suis dit, quel image pourrait meilleur le faire que cela du mime! Bien, sur les masques au moins...
L'oeuvre s'appelle La Voix, en raison de cette merveilleuse capacitè du mime d’exprimer tellement, même sans rien dire.

I was invited to participate in the exhibition of the Fête de la Francophonie today, and for a few weeks I've had some problems finding a form of representing, through the masks, this very complex theme, This is when the renowned Marcel Marceau was so kind as to give me a strike of inspiration with his sketch "The Mask Maker".
And I thought to myself, what image could do it better than that of the mime! Well, on the masks at least...
This piece is called "The Voice", due to this wonderful ability of the mimes, of expressing so much without a word spoken.

The writing (which is in french in the piece) is an extract of Tabacaria, a poem by Fernando Pessoa

"Não sou nada
Nunca serei nada
Não posso querer ser nada
Àparte disso, tenho em mim todos os sonhos do mundo."

"Je ne suis rien
Je ne serais jamais rien
Je ne peux pas vouloir être rien
À part ça, j'ai en moi tous les rêves du monde."

"I am nothing
I will never be anything
I cannot wish to be anything
Apart from that, I have in me all the dreams of the world."

And as Frank Sinatra is in my head right now, here, have yourselves a bit of joy ;)

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